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Heavy rains increases danger of local landslides

Travelers advised to use caution when traveling beneath steep slopes


A forecast of heavy rain along with already-saturated soil has led Oregon officials to issue a warning for possible landslides in several areas of the state.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industry issued the warning Thursday, shortly after the National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement calling for heavy rain in most of northern Oregon and southwest Washington.

Estimates of total rainfall from Thursday evening through Friday evening are for 2-5 inches along the coast, coastal mountains and the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service statement. "Rainfall amounts of .75 inches to 1.50 inches are likely for other areas.”

Officials advises people to use caution when traveling. 

“Plan to be alert to weather conditions throughout the weekend,” said Ali Ryan, earth science spokesman at the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. “Flooding is not expected at this time, but additional landslides are possible.”

A mudslide closed Highway 6 west of Glenwood in the Tillamook State Forest in both directions Wednesday afternoon, forcing motorists to take alternative routes.

Lanes were reopened Thursday at 5 p.m. after crews hauled away 40 dump trucks of mud, rocks and trees from the road.

Areas of high risk for landslides include the Coast Range, Willapa Hills, North Oregon Cascades and Columbia River Gorge, Ryan said.

“People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk,” Ryan said.

Forecasters said the rainy conditions in the metro area are expected through the weekend, and possibly into next week.

According to DOGAMI, the most dangerous places include canyon bottoms, stream channels and areas of rock and soil accumulation at the outlets of canyons; bases of steep hillsides, road cuts or other areas where slopes of hills have been excavated or over-steepened; and places where slides or debris flows have occurred in the past.

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